Monday, November 20, 2017

Quarter of Floridians under 65 lacked health insurance in 2011

RECOMMENDED READING


FORT LAUDERDALE — Florida had the nation's second-highest rate of residents without health insurance with almost 1 out of 4 Floridians lacking it, according to new U.S. Census figures released Thursday.

Only Texas surpassed Florida's rate of 24.8 percent of residents under age 65 without health insurance in 2011, the most recent year figures are available, the census said.

Although that figure was down slightly from 2010, when 25.3 percent of Floridians were without health insurance, the rate of uninsured residents has inched up since 2008, when just over 24 percent of Floridians were without health insurance.

The half-decade spike in uninsured residents comes as the Republican-controlled Legislature ruled earlier this year not to expand Medicaid coverage to an estimated 1.1 million low-income Floridians under the federal health law.

In an unusual alliance, Gov. Rick Scott, Senate Republicans, Democrats, Florida hospitals, health advocates and a diverse mix of business and labor groups all supported a bill that would have drawn down more than $50 billion from the federal government over the next decade and allow Floridians to purchase private insurance. But leaders in the GOP-led Florida House refused to consider that proposal, saying they didn't want to take funds tied to President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

Democrats and health advocates have since held town halls around the state pushing Scott to call a special session to discuss Medicaid expansion, but Scott has said he isn't planning to call one since House leaders haven't signaled a change of heart.

House Democratic Leader Perry Thurston, D-Fort Lauderdale, warned in a statement Thursday that Republicans will pay a political price for failing to expand Medicaid.

"The Legislature's failure to expand health coverage continues to punish working families and small businesses throughout Florida. Governor Scott and other Republican leaders who say they want to improve Florida's business competitiveness and image can make great headway by reducing this state's abysmally high number of uninsured," he said.

Florida's large numbers of small businesses, which currently aren't required to provide health insurance, as well as its tourism-oriented economy with large numbers of workers in service jobs have contributed to its historic high rate of the uninsured.

That will change under the Affordable Care Act, which requires businesses with 50 or more employees to offer coverage. But the Obama administration recently announced it would delay that provision for another year. The law also requires individuals to carry health coverage starting in 2014 or face a roughly $100 fine.

Individuals can still go online and shop for insurance on the new state exchange starting Oct. 1.

Comments
War on I-4 predictions

War on I-4 predictions

Who will win the USF-UCF showdown on Friday? The Times' college football staff offers up thoughts on the rivalry.Joey Knight, @TBTimes_BullsUCF, 41-28. While I can envision the Bulls enthralling their fan base by unleashing the sleek components ...
Updated: 4 minutes ago
Gerald McCoy, Ndamukong Suh and why this man is smiling

Gerald McCoy, Ndamukong Suh and why this man is smiling

The topic for the Times' set-up package  for Bucs-Dolphins in Sunday's editions was Gerald McCoy vs. Ndamukong Suh.Admittedly, it's not James Winston vs. Marcus Mariota, but the two defensive linemen were taken back to back in the 2010 NFL Draft...
Updated: 6 minutes ago

Judge: Detention center must rework asylum-seekers' parole

A federal judge has ruled that a detention center in New York state must reform how it decides parole for asylum
Updated: 7 minutes ago

Confederate Motors rebranding as Curtiss Motorcycles in 2018

High-end motorcycle maker Confederate Motors Inc. is changing its name and abandoning internal combustion engines
Updated: 8 minutes ago

UN chief urges probe of migrants' sale in Libya as slaves

U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is calling for an immediate investigation into the reported sale of African migrants in Libya, saying transactions may amount to crimes against humanity
Updated: 9 minutes ago

New York Times reporter suspended in harassment probe

The New York Times says it has suspended White House reporter Glenn Thrush while it investigates harassment charges
Updated: 10 minutes ago
West Virginia QB Will Grier undergoes surgery, out 4-6 weeks

West Virginia QB Will Grier undergoes surgery, out 4-6 weeks

West Virginia quarterback Will Grier has undergone surgery to repair a broken finger in his throwing hand and will miss 4 to 6 weeks
Updated: 11 minutes ago

Family says they're optimistic of Tom Ridge's full recovery

The family of former U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Tom Ridge says they're cautiously optimistic that he'll make a full recovery, four days after suffering a heart attack
Updated: 12 minutes ago

13 hurt in explosions, fire at upstate NY cosmetics factory

Authorities say 13 people, including five firefighters, have been injured by two explosions and a fire at a cosmetics factory in the Hudson Valley
Updated: 13 minutes ago
Online voter registration favors Democrats over GOP in early run

Online voter registration favors Democrats over GOP in early run

In the first month of online voter registration in Florida, more than 8,000 people electronically joined the voter rolls in Florida, and Democrats favor the new system over Republicans.It’s only one month, so it’s hardly a definitive tren...
Updated: 13 minutes ago